County asks S. Carroll to limit its water use Treatment plant exceeded capacity Saturday

second 1998 request is voluntary

July 23, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll County is again asking residents of its most populated area to conserve water.

The Freedom water treatment plant, which serves about 6,000 households in South Carroll and includes Eldersburg and Sykesville, exceeded its capacity Saturday by 30,000 gallons, prompting the request for voluntary conservation.

The treatment plant's capacity is 3 million gallons a day, which it draws from Liberty Reservoir. Water reserves in holding tanks help meet the demand.

"Any time the plant reaches its maximum, I shudder," said Wayne Lewns, chief of the county Bureau of Utilities. "Although the plant is capable, we don't like to hit capacity."

By Tuesday, water use had fallen to a more manageable 2.8 million gallons.

"I like to see the plant function between 2.4 [million] and 2.6 million gallons, but that just doesn't happen in really hot weather," Lewns said. "When temperatures reach 100 degrees, people turn on the water whether they want it or not."

Continued high temperatures and limited rainfall have water crews concerned. Last year, the driest summer in three decades, bans on outdoor water use were in effect throughout South Carroll from June through September. Residents who violated the ban faced fines and cutoffs.

This year, the county has not instituted water bans in South Carroll, which suffers from seasonal water shortages. Lewns hopes the warnings will be sufficient.

He had issued a conservation request in late May, when summerlike temperatures increased demand for water, and reiterated the request this week.

"Our intent is to keep people thinking about conservation," Lewns said. "The request is purely precautionary."

When demand exceeds capacity, as it did several times last summer, the system relies on water held in two 1-million-gallon water towers -- one on Marsh Road and the other on Bartholow Road. The county is building two additional towers to bring the storage capacity to 3.5 million gallons.

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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